Methods of Backing Up Work

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01Aug2011

Methods of Backing Up Work

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By Sally Jenkins

Do you make regular backup copies of your work?

We all know how temperamental computers can be – one minute they’re working fine and then the next they freeze up and refuse to do anything. Usually the ‘turn it off and back on again’ method brings the machine back to life and everything is hunky-dory again, but just occasionally the PC is dead and has taken with it folders full of precious work that can no longer be accessed – unless you have a backup copy.

Some of the more common backup methods to consider are:

  • External Hard Drives – this is a similar type of hard drive to that found inside your PC but it is mounted in a separate enclosure. It can be connected to your PC via a USB port or wirelessly. If you have an Apple Mac, an automatic wireless backup can be provided by a Time Capsule.
  • USB Stick – very small, easy-to-use, portable device that plugs into a USB port – but they are known to have a limited lifespan.
  • CD/DVD – CD-R, DVD-R, and DVD+R can be written to only once but there are other types of disk that can be erased/rewritten.
  • Online Storage Facility – This allows storage of data on a third party server. This may require a manual copy of the selected files from PC to the server, or there may be the option to schedule an automatic backup. An example of this is the BT Digital Vault.
  • Email – set up a free hotmail account and periodically email work to this account. If your own computer is unusable, this email account and your documents will be accessible from any other PC.

But before choosing a backup method there are a couple of questions that you should ask yourself:

  • Do you need a backup copy kept away from your home? An external disk drive sitting next to your PC will go up in flames with the rest of the house.
  • Do you regularly work on more than one PC – i.e., do you need an easy way of transferring your work in progress from one computer to another?
  • Are you saving a finished piece of work that won’t be touched again or one that is being constantly updated?

As a computer professional I feel that I should be using a failsafe, high tech backup method, but actually I use a USB stick on a daily basis and periodically email my larger pieces of work to myself.

What backup methods does anyone else use? And have you ever had a computer disaster and lost data (or successfully recovered it from backup)?

Originally posted by Sally Jenkins on her blog.

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